Poets and revolutionaries

The Lonely Planet describes Leon as “refined, intense and politically progressive”. While the first adjective may not be one I would use, the second definitely is. Houses of faded reds and yellows line the pot-holed streets, smells of dust mixed with petrol fill the air, and car horns, barking dogs and latin-pop beats can be heard from all directions. Power outages are common, and we spent part of our first night eating ice-cream in the dark at a local parlour. And then there is the stifling heat which forces you indoors everyday between the hours of 11am and 2pm. It is indeed an intense introduction to Nicaragua.

But despite its less-than-refined appearance, this city – more than the capital of Managua and more than the tourist hub of Granada – is the heart and soul of this country. This liberal minded city was the breeding ground of three revolutions, and that has left a permanent impression on the psyche of those who live there. Everyone here has an opinion about governments past and present and, of course, the United States.

Down every bustling street there was something new to see, and most of it with a distinct political bent. There is a mural celebrating Rigoberto Lopez Perez, who died assassinating one of the country’s dictators, another mural dedicated to the country’s many revolutionaries along with a park celebrating Ruben Dario and three other great poets of Leon. I managed to navigate my way to the Centro de Arte Fundación Ortiz Guardián, and spent a good two hours wandering the halls of this art gallery. The best part about Leon, however, was the the Museo de la Revolución, and learning about the history of this complex country. That, and playing with a grenade launcher. Defunct, of course – no one in their right mind would hand me anything more lethal than a butter knife.

For the most part we used Leon as a base, venturing out into the northern part of the country. But then it was always good to return to this city, as loud and as intense as it was, it was never dull and never felt like tourist trap.

1 thought on “Poets and revolutionaries

  1. Pingback: Cruising through a colonial city | leavetheheelsathome

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